harry nuriev on fusing fashion, furniture, & design + ‘how to land in the metaverse’

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harry nuriev on fusing fashion, furniture, & design + ‘how to land in the metaverse’

Harry Nuriev with designboom

 

Harry Nuriev grew up at a time when social media such as Instagram and Pinterest were still underway or had not yet brewed in their founders’ minds. ‘I had to create my own universe. I had my own fantasy design world that only existed in my mind,’ he tells designboom while holding up his phone and showing us around his Denim exhibition at the Carpenters Workshop Gallery in Paris. Back in the day, technology wouldn’t allow him to paint the floor fabrics, paint the wall, change the furniture’s color, blend soft and hard textures, and complement and contrast fixtures.

 

Now that he can, the architect slash designer has gone sprucing up spaces from digital to physical realms, truly working through his dreamscape phenomenon. Nuriev shares an example with designboom. Though he unveiled the interior of his baby-blue apartment in 2018, he had already dreamed of it when he was around 10 years old. It’s evident that in his earlier years, he felt a strong pull to develop his own interior world.

 

He imagined creative control in his hands, a power that could allow him to materialize the spatial and design dreams he had in his mind. In 2014, he followed through with his desire and founded Crosby Studios, his creative practice that spans public spaces, private residences, retail stores, product design, fashion and art collaborations, and immersive installations, often created through the lens of radical design.

Purple Duplex, 2019 | images courtesy of Crosby Studios, photo © Dylan Chandler | header: Meta House exterior, 2022. Metaverse Project

 

 

Harry Nuriev on fashion influences

 

Many of Harry Nuriev’s design influences stem from fashion. Venturing into design was also a conscious choice from the architect-designer when designboom asked why he didn’t join the fashion industry. What he does is combine design and fashion for his spaces and interior, glossing the final touches with nuances from art. ‘You might not get a straightforward idea and be inspired when you look at fashion, but it was part of my learning process in terms of combining different colors and compositions,’ he says.

 

Nuriev turns to fashion to drive the design of his furniture and spaces. ‘Everything used to look alike and similar. My idea was to create something new, and I figured that no matter how far I go – deep into the history of furniture, architecture, etc. – there is not much room. I was naturally inspired by fashion because that was a new environment for me, a new source of ideas,’ he says. 

harry nuriev interview
Baby Blue Space, 2016 | photo © Mikhail Loskutov

 

 

He has worked with Nike and created a furniture collection, including a neon green round seating, for the launch of the new Air Max 720 sneaker. For design miami/ in December 2019, he conceived  Balenciaga sofa, a conceptual, sustainable furniture installation designed by the artist in collaboration with the French fashion house. Cross-pollination between art, design, fashion, and architecture drifts into Nuriev’s sculptural furniture collections, presented within immersive installations that often blend material, virtual, and augmented realities. 

 

He describes the fashion world as lush and having hundreds of different styles. He likens the industry to a mega department store where people can mix and match the items they see. ‘Maybe fashion designers don’t think this way, but coming from the world of furniture and interior design, I can tell there’s a big difference,’ he adds. Now that fashion lays the influences, if not the groundwork, of Nuriev’s designs, he seeks to identify the oeuvre he’s building and settles on a concept he calls Transformism.

harry nuriev interview
Flying House, 2021. Metaverse Project | photo © Ángel Pérez

 

 

Practicing the art of transformism

 

When designboom inquired what about Transformism made him interested in exploring it, Nuriev implies ‘interested’ may be a strong adjective. ‘I tried to find a name for my style, and none of the [existing] styles fulfilled what I’m trying to develop,’ he says. ‘I had to find my own word to describe the world I’m creating and ended up in “transformation” because that’s what I do: I transform everything I work with, from fashion to furniture and interior design.’

 

In his recent Denim exhibition at Carpenters Workshop Gallery in Paris, Nurieve crafts modular furniture out of denim. One of them called the Sofa Pool, can be almost anything its user wants it to be: a jacuzzi-shaped bed, a grid-like sofa, a spacious workstation, an elaborate dining area, and even a bench to temporarily sit on a break. Fashion’s nuance comes through the material used for the exhibition, a fabric he considers present in the present.

 

‘Denim responds to our body and style, and while we’re all different, denim has this very specific texture and message that we all like,’ he says. ‘It’s an everyday material that we don’t think twice about. I think I have denim things that I like but I keep some of them as souvenirs, meaning I don’t use them anymore. The others though, I repurpose them. I turn them into shorts, and in this case, furniture. It’s not about breaking the jeans down. Denim should be an infinite cure.’

harry nuriev interview
Paris Hotel, 2022. Metaverse Project | photo © Bienvenue Art and Hôtel La Louisiane, Paris

 

 

Glancing at the walls of the exhibition, the hazy wallpapers depicting a gloomy lake meandering around a grassy field greet the visitors. Strokes of hot pink fleck the gray atmosphere with a stark touch. Nuriev’s signature body of work unfolds then. He employs digital tools to create the pensive landscape and prints it out in large-scale plasters to exhibit in the show, inviting the visitors to take a glimpse of what he likely thinks about when he designs. 

 

Since founding Crosby Studios in 2014, Nuriev has dressed up a myriad of digital and physical spaces and shown no signs of slowing down. As new technologies pop up, he tests some of them out to see if they can feed his creative hunger or be of any help to actualize what he pictures in his mind.

 

He has also dipped his toes in the metaverse, a realm brimming with design possibilities he seems to enjoy. Nuriev then plunges into the metaverse and swims back to the surface with a new book titled ‘How to Land in the Metaverse: From Interior Design to the Future of Design (April 2023)’, published by Rizzoli.

harry nuriev interview
Room with Bed Capsule, 2019 | photo © Mikhail Loskutov, © 2010-2022 Freepik Company S.L., 2022 Adobe

 

 

‘How to Land in the Metaverse’

 

‘How to Land in the Metaverse: From Interior Design to the Future of Design (April 2023)’ is Nuriev’s postcard from the metaverse, a book that chronicles his digital design explorations and material output as he navigates between virtual and physical realms. The color-bursting book features new and old designs of his, conceived in reality by his own devising. It details the projects he has done so far by the architect-designer himself, and Nuriev lets his readers in on their backstories in a postcard fashion of numbered words filled with depth.

 

In the preface of his book, he circles back to the visual language he has mastered and drawn upon, and adds that Transformism also touches on rethinking and reevaluating the spaces and objects around us. Instead of creating more new objects, Nuriev repurposes the existing items and gives them a new style and life. His actions hint at the architect-designer offering a second chance to these objects, a visual retelling and invitation to the viewers to look at and use them in a new, invigorated gaze.

 

Harry Nuriev asks how come lots of interiors look the same when people are different. He might have noticed a rhythmic pace in the way the interiors unfolded as if people followed the footsteps of the already-established designs without tweaking their nuances. Bright colors on one side, antique pieces on the other. Pared-back aesthetic in one room, plant-covered walls in the other. In his striking way, Nuriev is changing the pace of furniture and design-making, starting with the dreams he once owned for himself are now being widely shared in the physical reality.

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